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Updated: July 20, 2010 18:52 IST

Kathakali maestro Kottakkal Sivaraman cremated with State honours

Staff Reporter
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A file picture of noted Kathakali Maestro Kottakkal Sivaraman. Photo: S. Mahinsha
The Hindu
A file picture of noted Kathakali Maestro Kottakkal Sivaraman. Photo: S. Mahinsha

The famous Kathakali Acharya Kottakkal Sivaraman (74) who had passed away at his Karalmanna residence near Cherpulassery on Monday late night was cremated in the house compound on Tuesday with State honours in the presence of large number of Kathakali lovers from different parts of the State.

District Collector K.V. Mohan Kumar has placed a wreath on behalf of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on the body of the departed artist.

A wreath on behalf of the Minister for Education and Culture M.A. Baby was placed by his Assistant Private Secretary Babu John.

District Panchayat President Subida Isahaq, Standing Committee Chairman T.N. Khandamuthan, well known artists like Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair, Mattannur Shankarankutty, former Principal of Kerala Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody and many others reached the home of Kottakkal Shivaraman to pay their last respect to the great Kathakali artist.

He was in hospital for the last couple of months in a serious condition and brought back to his house in Karalmanna three days back as his condition did not improve.

He was famous for his female roles in Kathakali like Dhamayanthy, Sairandhri, Kunthi, Rugmini etc.

For these wonderful female roles he was given the `Sthree Retnam’ special award by Kerala Government recently.

Mr. Sivaraman received a number of awards from Central Sahithya Academy, Kerala Sahithya Academy, Sageetha Nataka Academy, Kerala Kalamandalam, State Kathakali Award of 2009, Kathakali Fellowship etc.

To give more strength to his characters Mr. Sivaraman used to read the mythological texts like Mahabharatha and Ramayana and learned the minute details of its characters. This has helped him to present his characters in its full bloom, it is said.

He started his Kathakali performance at a young age of 13 years and performed in thousands of stages in the country and outside till recently.

He was borne at Karalmanna on July 26, 1936 as the son of Njaloor Kunhikrishnan Nair and Karthiyayani.

After completing his school education at Karalmanna N.M. Namboodiri Memorial Higher Elementary School in Class five he left for Kottakkal to join P.S.V. Natyasangam for learning Kathakali under his uncle and Kathakali Acharya Vazemkada Kunchu Nair.

On November 15, 1949 at the Kottakkal Viswambhara Temple he presented Lavana in the Lavanasuravadham story in his `Arangettam’ (debut stage performance).

In 1958 at a Kathakali performance in Delhi in front of VVIPs like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Indira Gandhi he performed the role of Dhamayanthi.

He had to take the female role because the artist who was fixed to take the role fell ill and could not perform.

So Sivaraman was given the task of presenting Dhamayanthi and he did it wonderfully well and in the next half a century he presented many female characters that were well received by Kathakali lovers.

In Kathakali Sivaraman followed the `Kalluvazhi Chitta’ (Kalluvazhi style). He used his eyes and cheeks to demonstrate the `Bhavas’ rather than gesturing in presenting the characters.

He had a new style of creating mythological characters in its pristine beauty.

Mr. Sivaraman is survived by wife Bhavani Amma, son Girish and daughters Kalamandalam Ambili and Sujatha.






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